Sunday, 17 September 2017

TV Comic & Target #1393 (1978)

Launched in 1951 TV Comic was a long running comic (published for 33 years until 1984) absorbing a couple of other titles during its lifetime. One of these was the short lived Target which merged with TV Comic in August 1978 after just 19 issues.

Never a priority on my reading list, especially at this late date the merger like the Target comic itself completely bypassed me in the late seventies. In fact the merged TV Comic with Target only ran as a headline for 7 issues as the comic reverted to simply TV Comic from #1401.


Aimed at slightly younger readers TV Comic added Kojac, Charlie's Angels and Target to it's existing lineup which included Doctor Who (in his Tom Baker incarnation), Basil Brush and Bugs Bunny amongst others.

TV Comic struggled on for a few more years with a format change later on but like so many British comics fell to declining sales. One of many titles that simply ended as there was nothing left to merge it with.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Target #1 1978

Launched as a companion title to the long running TV Comic, Target hit the newsagents in April 1978. Aimed at a slightly older audience Target contained a number comic strips based on high profile American & British TV shows.

With Charlie's Angels, Kojak and Cannon plus Hackett what else could a young teenager want from a TV comic. The answer isn't hard to find. Besides having quite boring covers and very low production values it was no match for ITV's Look In which frankly outshone all the remaining TV related comic magazines at the time.

Target lasted just 19 issues before being merged with TV Comic.


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Marvel-Two-In-One Returns

Marvel Two-in-One #1 lenticular cover

One of my favourite ever Marvel Comics titles, Marvel Two-In-One returns with a whole new number one in December. Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm join forces to seek and find Reed & Sue Richards. Doctor Doom is hiding a secret and the re-uniting of two of the Fantastic Four can't be a bad thing!

I haven't ordered a Marvel title since the Fantastic Four ended its long run. Marvel obviously realises that their universe is missing something and that something is it's first family. I eagerly await the return of a full FF comic.

One thing is certain. The Richards and their kids ain't dead not that any of us really believed that..did we?

In the meantime the adventure begins with The Thing & The Human Torch exploring different universes and hopefully will lead to a proper restoration of a Marvel Universe that respects its legacy as much as DC has shown in Re-birth.

Oh and did I mention a lenticular cover.



Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Thing is Big Ben Summer Special (Marvel UK/1984)

The Thing (a.k.a Benjamin Grimm) of the Fantastic Four is one of my favourite Marvel comic book characters and when he got his team-up series in the form of Marvel Two-In-One it became a must grab when it appeared on the newsagents shelves.

As a result I completely overlooked this Marvel UK comic when it was released. In part because I had already got or read the stories and I felt the tile was, well a bit childish. Couldn't they have come up with something better. It sounded more like a preschool title than a mainstream superhero comic.

Fast forward to today and having restarted collecting comics and taking much more of an interest in Marvel UK's output than I did at the time I thought I'd pick up a well preserved copy from my local comic shop. After all it was just four quid!

Unlike earlier Marvel UK editions this was not just in full (over-sized) colour but had a nice cardstock cover. Oddly this was printed in Hungary.

There's just the one Thing story which is a team-up with Modred the Mystic and a guest appearance by an early version of Spider-Woman hailing from Marvel Two-In-One #33.


The rest of the Summer Special is taken up with early adventures of the X-Men in a story Computo, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Arnold Drake finished off with another X-related story Female of the Species which focuses on Jean Grey in her younger Marvel Girl guise.

The Thing is Big Ben ran for just 18 issues with the one Summer Special.


Saturday, 9 September 2017

Thor #200 (Marvel/1972)

Thor #200 (Marvel Comics)

Stan Lee (w) John Buscema (a)

From the earlier days of Marvel and before anniversary issues became oversized and expensive hails the "200th" issue of Thor. I use inverted commas as the numbering continues from Journey Into Mystery, they simply changed the name of the comic.

Thor actually began in Journey into Mystery #83 and immediately became a big hit with the name change taking place with #126. However all the numbering shenanigans aside this is a great story that foretell the final stand of the Asgardian Gods in Beware..this be Ragnarok .

Now in #199 Thor is actually at the mercy of Pluto, Lord of the Underworld (or one of them anyway)and he's about to die until the hands of the Norn sisters intervene in order to put history right and weave the tale in between.

Great issue, classic Marvel which despite the company's return to "legacy numbering" remains in the past. Today's Marvel comics might make good films but I for one find their current output underwhelming.


Monday, 4 September 2017

September Previews Picks!


The latest issue of Previews hit the comic shops this week and with it one of the most anticipated DC Crossover events since, well whenever. The Watchmen enter the DC Universe. Doc Manhattan is here but is he really the threat? And how come Rorschach is still alive.  We have been waiting for this story since Rebirth began.


There's also a groovy 3D cover with the "Rorschach" blot turning into DC Icons. Not often I order more than one cover but what the heck. Doomsday Clock will hopefully will rival Crisis on Infinite Earths in scope.

The epic Batman-centric Metal event continues with #4 and a few crossovers and The Jetsons are back in a new series. Might just get the first issue of that one.

Dark Horse have decided to re-release Mike Mignola's Jenny Finn in colour. Not sure why. This will be at least the third time it's seen print. I have the first two issues from Oni Press lurking around somewhere and another publisher finished it off though I'm damned if I can remember who.

Actually it is well worth reading but black & white suits the mood of the book better in my opinion.


Meanwhile Archie continue their reinvention of their characters as Betty and Veronica become....Biker Girls? Gotta give them credit. Not for me but next month Archie will be soliciting The Mighty Crusaders, now that is more to my liking.

I just hope they get the scheduling right. Irregular publishing ruined both their Horror and Dark Circle lines which started off so strongly and then just disappeared.


Nest up from Rebellion (publishers of 2000AD) comes Misty (Volume 2). Horror stories aimed at girls but really should be read by boys as well!!

To be honest not much else caught my eye this month though Titan brings out Dan Dare #2. You can probably still back order #1 from your local comic shop.


And in the magazine section (even though it's a comic) you will find the latest issue of The Creeps from Warrant Publishing. Horror in the Warren tradition. Please support this great title. Last of it's kind!


Sunday, 3 September 2017

Eerie #89 (Warren/1978)

It's not very often that an individual story makes an impact on me but this issue of Eerie contains one that has stuck in my mind and is a stand out year. The cover story Crystabelle contains no supernatural element whatsoever. The horror involved in this tale is "simply" one of an accumulation of men and women's actions and reactions to each other.

A badly treated woman has a baby she is forced to get rid of but regrets the betrayal of her daughter and kidnaps the child from the foster parents. Hidden away from public view the girl grows into a beautiful woman without any contact with the outside world. The only creatures she sees are spiders.

Then a repairman comes through the window by accident. She mates. And having learn't mating habits from spiders proceeds to devour her lover.....

Stranger things have happened in the real world so the ending made me shudder.

Grab a copy.

Oh and the other stories including an appearance of The Rook are also a good read.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

2000AD prog 2046 & New Part work out now!

The latest issue of 2000AD hit the newsstands today and does not disappoint as the Judge Dredd story War Buds continues as some of the "Apocalypse team" try to rescue there buddy from euthanasia. Things are starting to go wrong.

I'm not familiar with the alternative history story set in the magical world of Hope but it gets a bit saucy in this issue as the dominatrix takes stage in this instalment. They didn't make comics like this back in the sixties. Well not one my parents would have let me buy anyway!

All the current story lines will wrap up by prog 2049 as prog 2050 is going to be an extra-large jumping on issue.

Which brings me to the Collected 2000AD books. I gave in and purchased the first issue (which is number 32 in the collected series as I don't have the issues with Slaine: The Thorned God and and for just £1.99 this was an opportunity too good to miss.

Don't expect and Dredd stories as he had his own collected editions which ran for 70 issues and the last one is due out shortly I believe as #69

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Blazing Combat #4 (Warren/1966)

One of Warrens shortest running titles Blazing Combat turned out to be it's most controversial release because of a strong anti-war theme running throughout the magazine. The distributors and retailers were not only refusing to stock it but threatening to boycott his other titles effectively putting the company out of business.

So much for freedom of speech and expression in the land of the free. However this was the sixties, the USA was at war and the anti-war movement was a problem for the establishment. Even in the UK there was a movement against American involvement in Vietnam. The far-left and pacifist movement demonstrated outside the US Embassy in 1966.

A riot followed as Trotskyists led by Tariq Ali broke away from the main march.  Similar events took place across the USA.  Feelings were running high so James Warrens decision to publish this comic magazine was a brave one and was a moment he remained proud of.

Politics out of the way this actually is a splendid magazine. Most American war comics are a bit too "gung ho" for me. These gritty tales with excellent artwork are a joy to read.

Highly recommended.

There are four issues to collect or if you can find a copy Fantagraphics published a hardback collection back in 2009.


2000AD prog 1100 All Slaine Special

The launch of a new multi-part collection of 2000AD stories has been at the centre of much discussion on social media by comics fans. Hey it was even advertised on TV so may bring some "civilians" back to the hobby.  This collection is the second 2000AD related project Eaglemoss having already published a long running Judge Dredd series.

To be fair these volumes are good value and if for those who want to read comics but can't be bothered with the whole "collecting thing" these are a great way to read complete stories. And the first volume features Slaine in The Horned God a classic story.

I won't be getting these volumes as I prefer to read the originals but thought since there was some interest in Slaine at the moment it was time to look at some of his other adventures.

Set in Ireland in the days before the floods Slaine originally appeared in prog 330 back in 1982 along with his treacherous little sidekick Ukko the dwarf. These were Celtic times from prehistory and the world was with magic, dragons demons and druids, the latter being a right bunch of evil bastards.

In prog 1100 we see an adventure in which Slaine tried to remain in his warped state channelling the power of the the Earth through his being and leaving humanity behind. Shunning his comrades and his wife & lover Niamh Slaine negates his responsibilities to his tribe to look after the creatures of the forest.

Such a luxury is not to be as a rebel druid and his Skull Swords appear in the forest threatening both Slaine and the very survival of his tribe. Slaine must return to human existence to save the day.

The whole issue is dedicated to this one Slain story and is well worth picking up. Slaine is one of my top three 2000AD features, the others being Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog.


Saturday, 26 August 2017

Psycho #13 (Skywald/1973)

The latest addition to my small but growing collection of Skywald's horror output is Psycho #13 which I picked up purely because of the number....Thirteen! Unlucky for some perhaps but not for a reader wanting some bizarre horror tales to read when the mood takes!

A woman looking to continue her immortality gets her comeuppance when she tries to make victims of three men in the Himalayan Mountains. Her fellow passengers are also not what they seem in The Day Satan Died.

Next up is Monster, Monster in the Grave a pretty average Werewolf story to be honest but Lets All Drink to the Death of a Clown which follows is both weird and scary. Clowns are funny aren't they?

The regular adventures of The Heap turn up next but this one asks readers if they want any more and there's a coupon to return to the publishers. No idea of the outcome. As I collect later issues guess I'll find out.

Cannibalism is the theme of the twisted two page tale that comes next and then some science-fiction. The Horror Within and Without is a tale of humanity and war gone mad. Did I mention the computer?

This issue finishes off with three tales The Raven, a two page shocker and there be flies in The Taste of Carrion. Finally two pages bring The Mummy back to life.

Overall a mixed bag but a solid read.

Keep that light on kids....


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

2000AD prog 2045

The latest issue of 2000AD hit the newsagents today and what a surprise the lead story turned out to be! Older readers, even lapsed ones will remember the 25 part Apocalypse War which ran in progs 245 to 270 (sans one issue when they got behind).

East Meg City One attacked Mega City first by trying to poison the inhabitants and then in an all out nuclear strike and invasion killing 400 million people and destroying about two-thirds of the city.

A war the Judges nearly lost except for the actions of Judge Dredd and his hand picked team to sneak through East Meg City's defences and use the Sovs own weapons to destroy their enemy.


Ever what happened to the team other than Dredd and Judge Anderson? Now the tale can be told and it it ain't a pleasant one. Judge Costa is now insane. Full of self hate and self harm. The guilt of destroying all those babies lives has destroyed the man. Only one of his old friends visits him and the doctors looking after Costa want to carry out euthanasia.

Enter the old team. Will they let this happen even though Dredd has agreed to the doctor's actions? Where will this all end. War Buds is an epic in the making one hopes.


Also starting this issue is a three part Tharg 3riller Mechastophles set after the fall......

Other regular features continue as the enemy is made known in The Alienist, The Grey Suits catch up with another episode and the magician wakes from his slumber to find he's been robbed. That damned woman buggered off with something important.  Hope has another chapter.